Short of a “Vulcan Mind Meld,” there’s simply no way to impart how to assess sound angulation in a dog using a Facebook post. We try to break it down into snippets here and there, but by and large, it takes time, it takes looking at a lot of different dogs, and it takes the desire to learn more. What we can do is to share why dog structure is important to a family dog who will never get near a dog show ring.
In a working breed, well built dogs can work long days without tiring. Good proportions lend suppleness to the back, strong hindquarters provide strength for bursts of speed, thrust for jumping, stamina for trailing, while strong pasterns (wrists) reduce the shock of landing. Balance provides smooth, effortless gait not unlike the humming along of tuned-up vehicle.
What does any of that matter if your dog doesn’t work on a farm or attend a dog show?
Does your dog like to play fetch? Does she enjoy long walks? How about jogging with you in the morning? Do your dogs love doing “zoomies” in the house? Does your dog jump on and off the couch?
Sound structure impacts all dogs, whatever their role in life. Angulation – the size. length and angles of the bones in your dog’s hips and shoulders, govern how effortlessly your dog moves. Soundness means your dog can take those jogs or long walks with you free of discomfort. It means she can jump on the couch to snuggle with you, and jump off again to follow you into the kitchen without pain. They can play with you longer, climb over boulders and tree stumps with ease, and not have to ignore their own pain to do the things you want to do with them. Soundness matters.
While we applaud the good people who work with shelter and rescue dogs, we’d love to dry up the sources of those unfortunate souls by making education about soundness go viral. Imagine the substandard breeder who can’t sell their puppies because their customers have gotten savvy about what to ask, and what to look for in a puppy. How long do you think those breeders would last?
Many of us have taken a lot of heat for supporting ethical breeders invested in their respective breeds. Many of us are those breeders, but without heritage breeders, our breeds would deteriorate in quality, if not disappear altogether. They would also suffer in the course of performing their jobs as is seen in the painting by Pieter Zaadstra.